When Council on Aging Director Amy Saada whispered into Paroshinsky’s ear to ask her about the secret to her longevity, Paroshinsky wouldn’t answer.
“She’s not telling,” Saada exclaimed to a crowd of more than 40 people, including Paroshinsky’s family, friends, and staff members at Ruth’s House, a program of Jewish Geriatric Services (JGS) where Paroshinsky resides.
Select Board Chair Richard Foster said the Golden Cane Award’s roots trace back to 1909, with the owner of the Boston Post at that time.
“I think there were 700 of them originally that they made in Connecticut and Rhode Island and Massachusetts, but we’re not sure how many there are,” he added. “We know this is the original one that was in our town. It was lost for several years and we found it; somebody had it in a closet and they turned it back into us.”
Selectman Marie Angelides also presented Paroshinsky with a bouquet of flowers.
Paroshinsky, a Longmeadow resident since 1980 who lived in Springfield for 68 years prior to moving to the town, told Reminder Publications she can remember apple trees along the streets near the Forest Park section of Springfield before it was developed.
The third of four children and the only girl, Paroshinsky grew up in the upstairs apartment of a two-family house on Whittier Street in Springfield, according to a media release from Ruth’s House.
Paroshinsky graduated from Commerce High School in 1929 and began working as a bookkeeper at Belmont Laundry and later at Kimball Furniture Company. She also worked as the office manager for a pediatric dental practice, owned by her nephews.
“I worked at a children’s dentist for 20 years and of course I enjoyed that,” she added. “I was in charge of the office.”
Three years after graduating from high school, Paroshinsky married Milton Webber, a local wholesale meat salesman. The couple had a daughter, Rachel, and were married for 44 years until Webber passed away.
In 1980, she married Longmeadow attorney Arthur Paroshinsky, and not only gained a husband, but a stepdaughter and an extended family that now includes several great grandchildren.
“She remembers everything,” Margie Evans, 78, Paroshinsky’s stepdaughter, said. “She really loves to read the paper. She even keeps up with sports. She asks me all the time if the Red Sox have won or if the Patriots [have won].”
Evans said Paroshinsky is a person who sends cards to loved ones on their birthdays and anniversary.
“She never forgets a person,” she noted.
Shiron Asulin, Paroshinsky’s 22-year-old great granddaughter, said when she was growing up, she always excited to see her great grandmother during Passover Seders and during Hanukkah parties.
“She was always joking around and was always smiling and I’m happy I have her,” Asulin said. “She’s really wise and loving and just so young at heart. She’s so involved with our family.”
JGS President and Chief Executive Officer Martin Baicker presented a proclamation from Mayor Domenic Sarno of Springfield, which announced April 19, 2015 as Selma Paroshinsky Day in the city.
“For more than a century, Jewish Geriatric Services has been the proud caretaker of the elderly in our local community,” he added. “We are honored to be Selma’s ‘home away from home,’ and proud to celebrate her milestone achievement.”
The Golden Cane Award is presented when its holder passes away, Foster said. At that point, it is passed to next person in line. The last presentation of the award was in 2013.